Washing Scheduled

Do you spend a part of your morning picking up washing from different parts of the house? How close to the laundry basket does the dirty washing get?

Last year I introduced small washing baskets into each bedroom, as well as the ones already in the bathrooms and for the most part the dirty clothes make it in. I must admit the favourite spot for most of the dirty clothes is next to the washing basket.

Different fold up soft baskets for colour sorting

Colour coded

The other small change I implemented is different colour baskets to help me sort all the washing at once. I bought these mesh baskets; they are easily folded away and stored in a cupboard between use. They were cheap and I bought 2 a month until I had the colours I wanted.

I then created a schedule. I only have one child in uniform, so as you can imagine we have a lot of laundry each day. If you have nursery school children or younger, you will also have a fortune of washing to do.

On Schedule

I created a schedule for the washing to be done, this mostly ensures that the most important clothing items are washed first.  This helps especially when it rains for days.

I have 4 children plus my husband and myself, with a smallish washing machine. Unfortunately my beautiful large Speed Queen died after 25 years of dedicated service and because of its age there are no longer spare parts. I have a really good machine now but it is small and we do around 3 loads of washing per day.

Here is my schedule:

Monday – whites/lights, blacks and hand washing

Tuesday – blue/ greens, brown and reds/orange

Wednesday-  Linen ( there are 5 beds, this takes the whole day)

Thursday – Towels and table cloths.

For the most part this schedule works well. Obviously there are colours and patterned clothing that you have to decide where they fit in,

I have an ironing lady who comes 1 full day and 1 ½ day each week, I do my first load of laundry at around 6 am, all three loads are then done by 8 when I need to leave for work.

Put it away

I have spoken to a few ladies who do not have help and one of their main issues is not getting the clean laundry to where it belongs.  This is another system that you need to then put into place. How to get the clean clothes back where they belong? Depending on the age of your children you can possibly get them to put their own stuff into their cupboards.

This would only work well with some of my family members, my husband, my eldest daughter, who is an organiser by nature, and my youngest and my son, who would get it to the cupboard but not sort it. My middle child has server ADHD and depending on what happens between where she collects the washing and her bedroom will dictate where the washing ends up. If it makes it to her bedroom she will also get it into the cupboard but not sorted.

Getting it fixed

Another aspect of laundry is repair. Lost buttons, torn pockets and seams. Create a small repair kit to help with mending or a space to put the clothes into so that they can be taken to be repaired.

Another handy tip I learned is to have a singles basket. This is for the socks that have lost their partners, every few months go through the basket and see if you can find matches.

Dirty Laundry!

Your laundry room

Where do you do your laundry? Do you have a laundry room or do you have laundry equipment in the kitchen? Wherever it is, it needs to be organised.

How often does your washing machine get cleaned?  Are your washing detergents organised?

Do you have old expired bleach? Believe it or not, bleach expires and quite quickly too.

Laundry area
If your laundry area is dirty and untidy, how can your laundry be clean?

The laundry areas can get untidy very quickly, as your washing machine and tumble dryer, if you have one are flat surfaces, and flat surfaces attract clutter.

What do you do with stray socks? How about the small change in people’s pockets?

Look at the area around your machines, is everything there specific to washing clothes and linen or do you have a collection of odds and ends.

An idea for those of us who have very little or no designated laundry space, are baskets where you can put similar items into. A basket to hold all your softeners and bleaches and another for a small sewing kit for repairs.

How can you have clean clothes and linen if the area is in chaos?

Does it belong?

The first aspect to laundry is getting the area sorted. Get rid of anything that isn’t to do with laundry. Clean out the space, whether it is a cupboard or a room. Empty old and expired laundry supplies and throw the containers away or recycle them, find new ways to neatly store everything.

Once your clothing is washed, it often needs ironing. Make sure your iron and ironing board are both in good condition.

Rainy days

Are you able to dry laundry on a rainy day without your tumble dryer? If you have the space, maybe consider putting up a retractable washing line on the wall. This may be especially important if you have small babies or you live in an apartment building where the washing lines are often on the roof.

It is also a good idea to have a small basket to collect your stray socks. That way you may periodically be able to find the matching sock.

Collecting the lost and found

I read an article a while ago where a lady had a small jar in her laundry room and any money found in pockets went into the jar. I also think another idea would be a catch all basket, anything found in pockets would go into this, e.g. pens, ticket stubs or parking stubs etc.

Do you have any idea on how to remove stains? What to use for what type of stain. A good idea might be to create a stain removal kit to keep with your laundry detergents.

Do you have a laundry room? How old was your oldest item in the laundry room?

3 weeks without!Annual leave

For most of us in South Africa, who have domestic help, December can be a very difficult time, for this is usually when most domestic workers go on their annual leave. Usually for 3 weeks at least

Domestic workers going across the Zimbabwe border on leave risk their possessions and lives to overloaded, un-roadworthy transport and reckless drivers
Domestic workers going across the Zimbabwe border on leave risk their possessions and lives to overloaded, un-roadworthy transport and reckless drivers. They can be gone for weeks.

For some, it is a time to realise how much this employee does for you and how much easier they make your life. For others, it is a time to realise how little one needs their help, or how little the help actually does in a day when you are not at home.

I have been reading different posts on Facebook and the one thing that comes over clearly is that, whether or not you have chosen to have help, whether it is only with the washing and ironing, a housecleaner once or twice a week, a full time domestic or even a full time nanny, South Africans are privileged and, dare I say it, spoiled!

If you are at work all day, you rely on these employees to look after your homes and keep them to the standard you expect. Some families are lucky enough to hire a person with integrity, who looks after your home and children as if they were their own. Others discover that they only thought they were lucky!

I wish this image I got off Google was my house!
I wish this image I got off Google was my house! My house doesn’t look like this even when my help is not on leave

I was fortunate this year in that my three older kids went on summer camp for 3 weeks.  I say this because, since they came home, I simply can’t seem to keep my house as clean as I want it to be. This has caused me to revise my cleaning schedule. The cleaning schedule available on the website is free and is a very basic one which each person adapts to suit their needs.

It doesn't matter if they are little ones or teenagers!
It doesn’t matter if they are little ones or teenagers!

The first week the children were away, I started getting my house in order and notes were made about what I found or didn’t find.

The second week I was unexpectedly on leave as my boss decided to close the office. I started cleaning and discovered that without the older children at home, I could get the entire house done in 2 hours! Once they came home, it took about 4 hours.

They brought home 3 trommels (tin trunks/kists for non South Africans) filled with washing which took me 5 days and 5 loads a day to do and we are still ironing! Also, they insist on wearing clean clothes which I keep on having to wash and it feels like it will never end!

This is a trommel. I had three full with dirty clothes to wash!
This is a trommel. I had three full with dirty clothes to wash! There goes my leave.

The benefit I discovered in doing all your own housework? I have lost 3kg! I also know now how much can be done in a day’s work and what can’t.

I honestly feel that every person who wants to employ a domestic worker should do the job themselves for two days before drawing up a cleaning schedule! This way your expectations are realistic.http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/printables/house-cleaning-check-list/

As much as I didn’t find the housework too onerous, I will be glad to have full time help again. It has become extremely difficult to keep my house clean, put food out for lunch for the children and make supper, while I am at work full time and the 4 kids are at home full time, with very little to occupy themselves and very reluctant to clean up after themselves!

This is, of course, the fault of a privileged upbringing!    In countries where there is no domestic help the children are taught from an early age to clean up after themselves and do chores around the house.     We cannot absolutely blame the children for this is how we were brought up as well!

How do you manage to get your children to keep their rooms and belongings neat and tidy?